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Discussion The Reception of The Last Jedi vs The Empire Strikes Back

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy (Released Films)' started by jaqen, Dec 26, 2017.

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  1. jaqen

    jaqen Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Two middle chapters.

    Two films that veer wildly in style, tone and execution from their gee whiz, super fun predecessors.

    A question to those OG fans, the ones who saw the original trilogy unfold in real time, can you give us some insight into how the reception of TLJ compares to TESB? Similar? Radically different?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  2. SWITS

    SWITS Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 7, 2015
    I was a little kid when ESB came out, but I definitely don't recall any outrage over that film, like there is with The Last Jedi.
    To be quite honest, me and my grade school classmates all thought The Empire Strikes Back was awesome! Even with the Darth Vader reveal. A lot of us thought Vader was lying, actually. It made us look forward to see what will happen in the next film. We didn't care what the professional movie critics thought about it. I don't think there was any controversy or civil war among fans at the time either. Because Star Wars as a franchise was actually still brand new. We didn't know where the story would take us.
    So, it bugs me when I see younger people today who weren't even alive at that time, say "ESB was so controversial, imagine if we had the Internet back then!". What? No. It wasn't even like that at all, back then.
    And for the record, The Last Jedi is not better than The Empire Strikes Back. Infact, the hype coming into this new movie actually hurt it, because expectations were so high with all the talk of "this movie is going to be the next Empire Strikes Back". No it wasn't. That's part of the reason why it was disappointing to a lot of people.
    And remember, Attack of the Clones was also supposed to be The Empire Strikes back of the Prequel Trilogy, with it's take on the love story similarity. But that movie still didn't live up to the hype either.
    The Empire Strikes Back is the Michael Jordan of Star Wars films. It's unfair to compare the new Star Wars movies to it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  3. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 6, 2014
    I was 13 at the time. There was definitely some outrage, but there was no internet, so it didn't feed on itself and fester like today.

    Here's a taste...

    http://www.acriticalhit.com/fans-react-empire-strikes-back-1980/
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    I was a young teen at the time. As I remember it, most hardcore SW fans were utterly blown away by the better writing, acting, and drama. The average movie-goer who thought the original was a lot of fun but didn't obsess over it, OTOH, was more likely to think ESB was not as much fun as the original. I don't recall the kind of divisiveness we saw when the PT came out, or the flamewars we're seeing now with TLJ.
     
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  5. jamminjedi23

    jamminjedi23 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 19, 2015
    There was no internet and no social media back in 1980 so it would be hard to judge what the initial fan reaction was to ESB. But the critical reception did indeed seem to be mixed.

    And as far as the negative reaction towards TLJ. It is being exaggerated quite a bit on boards like this. Yes there are mixed feelings about the movie within certain pockets of the fan base but the general reaction from the overall movie audience seems to really enjoy it. And for crying out loud it is going to cross the billion dollar mark WW in about a week and will end its domestic run with over 600m. So trying to say that the overall reaction to the movie is mixed is a bit of a stretch when the movie is turning out to be as successful as it is.
     
  6. All_Powerful_Jedi

    All_Powerful_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Yeah, I was very young when ESB came out, but was old enough to be aware before ROTJ, and I remember ESB being very much in the zeitgeist positively.

    The iconic moment of the Vader reveal and people doing Yoda impressions were really the big takeaways from it. Plus, things like the cool novelty of AT-AT walkers and Taun-Tauns, and new characters like Yoda and Lando, really added so much to ESB that, even with the dark ending and turning everything inside-out, it was still a fun ride.

    I don't want to get too much into criticism of TLJ, but for expanding the universe, I think we only really got Porgs out of it. Not complaining about Porgs, just saying ESB just brought a lot more to the table.
     
  7. {Quantum/MIDI}

    {Quantum/MIDI} Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2015
    They only compare superficially from a "reactionary" take. TLJ didn't "break cinema's tropes" go past the grounds of film-making. ESB did a lot for the industry that TLJ didn't really do much of in comparison.
     
  8. jaqen

    jaqen Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Oh, what rich, good stuff!

    Great find.

    These sound like posts lifted right off this board circa 2017:

    -I know they wanted to leave something to settle in the other sequels, but they left a little too much. For instance, Han Solo’s predicament. The movie should not have ended until Han was either killed by Boba Fett or Jabba or rescued by Lando Calrissian or Chewbacca, the former, preferably. Also, the fate of Bespin is not told. Was it taken by Lando’s troops, taken by Imperial troops or destroyed by Vader? I like Lando Calrissian and Billy Dee Williams was very good playing the part.

    -Structurally, the film is flawed by its need to imitate its predecessor’s “formula” of fast-paced cross-cutting. We cut back and forth between Luke and Yoda on Dagobah and Leia and Han in the asteroids, and the time sense of both sets of events is distorted. How long were Han and Leia fleeing? How long is Luke studying?
     
  9. Skillzwalker

    Skillzwalker Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2015
    I was 11 when TESB came out in Australia. I loved the movie, especially Luke and Yoda but not to the extent of ANH which was understandable as TESB is not as much fun. however as much as I loved it I left the theatre numb after the reveal and to be perfectly honest went straight into denial and refused to believe it. DV was an evil Mofo that was clearly lying to Luke.

    I stayed that way for a long time and when ROTJ was released 3 years later I was still only just getting to acceptance due to being a bit older. However i still needed to hear Yoda say it. After ROTJ i look back on ESB very fondly like most i guess. We did not have internet then so we only really had our own thoughts and the occassional conversation when you run into someone like minded.

    I do not hate TLJ, i did leave numb but for different reasons. I am seeing it a second time this Friday and expect to like it more. The problems i have at this stage is the structure, it was too busy with too much going on instead of reducing focus on 2 main story elements. Most of the comedy missed the mark for me and some editing errors (or one in particular) really bothered me (Rey from Snoke room to gunner seat in Falcon) which is when I was really starting drop out of the movie.

    to summarise TESB was a brilliant movie, well made, structured and told but the reveal was truly shocking to the point of being unbelievable for many including me. TLJ was a bold movie and divisive due to its story content. I suspect to some it is similar due to the shock treatment of Luke but i do not think that would be many. Seems there is a mix of those angry due to story content and those who didn't enjoy the way the movie was made (me). Some are a combination of both no doubt. How TLJ is remembered will also depend on epIX.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  10. Classified8

    Classified8 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2016
    It's a tough question because there was no internet and I didn't read fan magazines. Plus I was an adolescent and now I'm middled-aged so it does feel like a lifetime ago. I went in completely unspoiled on opening night. The theater was packed without a single empty seat. The audience was excited, boisterous, and noisy. They screamed and cheered every time a character appeared on screen for the first time. I missed some of the dialogue.

    When Vader said, "No, I am your father" the entire place went silent. We were dumbfounded, stunned. When it was over we just looked at each other. We didn't know what to say or what to make of it. I don't remember liking it or disliking it at that point. Part of me instinctively rejected it because it was so different from the first film. But there was something there and I went back to see it again. It took time for me to absorb and process ESB. Now I love them both, but they engender different moods.
     
  11. Blue 5

    Blue 5 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 6, 2017
    I remember after Attack of the Clones that many were saying it is the best since TESB.

    Well...
     
  12. black_saber

    black_saber Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2002
    The crittcs where right about The Last Jedi, This movie was amazing and awesome. Luke was originally was supposed to be like an Obi Wan Kenobi like figure going threw traumatic changes and to live like a hermit, George Lucas said that was the original idea regardless of what Mark Hamill wanted . Remember when Han Mentioned to both Rey and Finn on how Luke felt responsible for the fall of the Jedi order in The Force Awakens? Well we got some answers there. Star wars reminds us that history repeats itself.

    The last jedi may be weak but it is no way should it be smashed like the prequels where, not bashing and its wortthy of Star Wars just not better then The Empire strikes back. I just don't understand the hate.
     
  13. jaqen

    jaqen Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2004
    I created this thread, and the intended comparison is clear.

    AOTC has nothing to do with this topic.
     
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  14. Classified8

    Classified8 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2016
    It wasn't just the Vader parentage reveal that had us gobsmacked, it was also Luke's hand being cut off. It's become something of a Star Wars cliche, but at the time it was very shocking.
     
  15. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 20, 2015
    I cried at the end of TESB because I thought Han Solo was dead. My grandad, who took me to see it, had to console me.

    I was only six though.
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    Yes indeed, that was totally unforeseen and unimaginable. I was appalled. But that shock was absorbed and forgotten in the shattering moment that followed.
     
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  17. Classified8

    Classified8 Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jun 8, 2016
    You're right. It's interesting how when you start talking about something, more of it comes back to you.
     
  18. Gemlake

    Gemlake Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2015
    I was a child during the release of ANH and ESB. The reaction to ESB was similar to TLJ, in that it was a bit of a let down. A common reaction was: "we waited three years for that?"
    The difference, of course, was that ESB's new characters were well received, especially Yoda; no major characters were killed; the nonforce plot, with a Han/Leia romance, was well received (that was the favorite "ship" of fans); and the ending created great anticipation for Episode VI.
     
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  19. Count Zero

    Count Zero Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2014
    I think i was 7, i have no idea. My aunt took me, that's all i remember.
     
  20. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    A recent article that explores this very topic: http://mashable.com/2017/12/19/last-jedi-empire-strikes-back-haters/

    Some ESB reviews from 1980: "It ends on a bleak note that may leave certain younger members of the audience shaking their heads," - Starburst.

    "I'm not as bothered by the film's lack of resolution as I am about my suspicion that I really don't care ... It's a measure of my mixed feelings about The Empire Strikes Back that I'm not at all sure that I understand the plot." - NY Times

    "no plot structure, no character studies let alone character development, no emotional or philosophical point to make. Some of its special effects were already "space-movie clichés." - Washington Post.
     
  21. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Yeah, I was in college when TESB came out. There was not universal acclaim for TESB, though I don't recall people really hating it. And plenty of people were not happy that it was unresolved at the end -- especially with Han being locked up in carbonite. That was a long, long 3 years wait for ROTJ for the Han fans.

    But there were lots of people who outright denied that Vader was really Luke's father. I posted the question on a bulletin board at a science fiction convention that summer and there were a lot of people who said that it wasn't so and Yoda would tell Luke 'the truth' in the 3rd film.

    However, at the time, we did not have an internet to blow fan reaction all out of proportion -- who knows what would have happened if we'd been online then.

     
  22. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    But imagine if there were an internet back then [face_hypnotized].

    I can see it now. Anti-Kershner threads. An online petition for TESB to be removed from canon. And for those hacks Kershner & Kasdan to be banned from all future SW projects!
     
  23. Darth Dookacas

    Darth Dookacas Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2014
    If the the internet was around during the release of ESB there would have been YouTube videos left and right claiming it is the worst Star Wars ever. My proof is every Star Wars that came out while there was a internet has many videos saying it is the worst Star Wars ever. TPM, AOTC, ROTS, RO, TFA, and now TLJ all have been bashed on the internet and on YouTube to generate hits mostly. Most of it is click bait and people are striking while the iron is hot. When the dust settles like ESB people will see the movie in a more positive light especially if Episode 9 is great and finishes the story strong.
     
  24. Strongbow

    Strongbow Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 6, 2014
    Can you imagine the Space Slug memes? They would have been EPIC. And complaints about all the Boba Fett hype for.... NOTHING.
     
  25. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 5, 2001
    ESB internet critic in 1980: So in Star Wars the wise Jedi guru was Alec Guinness. In this piece of crap movie we get...a Muppet. The best this Kershner guy can do is slap some pointy ears on Grover & make him talk back backwards. Star Wars has been reduced to Sesame Street! What's with Vader? Now he's the boss of everyone. He can even choke Admirals to death (over a tv phone call) when he feels like it. Now he's Luke's long lost daddy?? What a mess. Just hope Lucas is back directing the next one. He's a genius who would never feature childish nonsense in one of his movies, or have people related to each other as a cheap plot twist!
     
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